Asked Questions

  • What about Project ONE’s nitrogen emissions?

    To maximise nitrogen emission reductions, Project ONE uses multiple abatement techniques that reduce NOx emissions by 71% from day 1.

    Our nitrogen emission for the whole of Flanders is a maximum of 0.09 kg per hectare; for the Brabantse Wal it is a maximum of 0.13 kg per hectare per year. To make tangible what the nitrogen deposition of Project ONE in the Brabantse Wal nature reserve represents in concrete terms: it is a maximum of 0.13 kg of nitrogen against a background of 33 kg per hectare on an annual basis from other sources.

    We examined the impact of nitrogen not only for the Brabantse Wal, but also for the Kalmthoutse Heide and all other nearby nature reserves in Flanders and the Netherlands. For Flanders, over 50 habitat types and more than 65 plant and animal species were examined individually. Not only in terms of nitrogen deposition, but also in the context of other environmental pressures such as desiccation and fragmentation. In the Netherlands, more than 35 habitats and species are involved.

    We worked extremely hard to document everything. The permit application in itself is a feat on which a lot of experts have worked within INEOS and from other parties. For example, the permit application includes almost 1,800 (building) plans, an environmental impact report of more than 1,000 pages, and various other studies to show that every best available technology (energy-efficient, minimal impact on the environment in terms of water, air, noise, soil protection, etc.) is applied.

    The appropriate assessment we have prepared to describe our nitrogen contribution to nearby nature reserves alone runs to 800 pages.

    We have taken the comments of the Licensing Disputes Board to heart and added more depth to the ecological approach compared to our previous version.

  • Should INEOS not produce more bio-based plastics?

    The introduction of bio-based raw materials for the production of plastics is a very promising evolution. Although it is not yet possible to make all plastics from bio-based raw materials, we are fully committed to increasing the amount of bio-based raw materials we use, especially in Belgium:

    • Biovyn, production of PVC from biomass: at our INOVYN site in Jemeppe, we have made it possible to produce PVC with ethylene produced from a biomass that does not compete with food production. In this way, there is a reduction of CO2 emissions of more than 90 percent compared to production from fossil raw materials. This supply chain has been fully certified by the Roundtable on Sustainable Biomaterials (RSB), an independent third party. Biovyn can be found, for example, in the upholstery of the Polestar 3 car, but also in prosthetics and window profiles.
    • Bio-attribution of renewable raw materials: ‘bio-attribution’ expresses the extent to which fossil raw materials have been replaced by renewable or bio-based raw materials. Ineos O&P North Lillo offers a range of Bio-Attributed Olefins and Polyolefins, based on renewable bio-based raw materials that do not compete with food production. Their supply chain is fully certified by the Roundtable on Sustainable Biomaterials (RSB), an independent third party.
  • Are there no alternative raw materials for the shale gas from the United States?

    Today, there is no fully-fledged organic alternative to ethane.

    The bio-based alternative bioethanol is only viable and acceptable from a sustainability perspective in places where it does not compete with the food industry. Given the amount of space required to have sufficient volumes, bioethanol is only used in very specific areas (such as Brazil with its sugar beet plantations).

    Sugar beet produces 5,000 litres of ethanol per hectare or 3.95 metric tonnes of ethanol/hectare. Applying this to Project ONE: 633,000 hectares of sugar beet are needed to feed an ethane cracker to produce one and a half million ethylene. By comparison, Flanders has 622,000 hectares of agricultural land. So this integral area would not suffice on its own and would mean that this land could not be used for food production.

    Similar reasoning applies to the availability of recycled raw material. In 2021, 30 million tonnes of mixed plastic waste was available in Europe. For a cracker with the capacity of Project ONE, you already need a third of that, while you would need 150 million tonnes for Europe’s current ethylene capacity. That is not simply not available right now.

  • Should INEOS focus more on recycling instead of producing new plastics?

    INEOS is strongly committed to reduce plastic waste. It is not the plastics themselves that are the problem, but the fact that they are thrown away in to the environment, sent to landfill, or incinerated. According to INEOS’ vision, we have to handle plastics with care, precisely because they are such valuable materials. That’s why INEOS invests heavily to support the recycling of plastics. In this way, all polymers produced by us (such as polyethylene and polypropylene produced on the basis of Project ONE-output) can be fully recycled.

    INEOS is investing to support different forms of recycling. We develop products that lend themselves to mechanical recycling so that recycled material can also be used for high-quality applications, and we incorporate recycled plastics in to our products. We invest in the development of our processes to use bio-based raw materials or waste plastics as raw materials for new plastics. Advanced recycling (also called chemical recycling) is a developing technology. As we commercialize this technology, we will be able to produce more plastic from recycled products, creating a market for waste plastic.

    All this is in line with our commitment of the INEOS Pledge, as plastics are a valuable material. We have committed to incorporate at least 850 000 tonnes of recycled and bio-attributed material in our polymer products by 2030. We previously committed to use an average of 30% recycled material in products for polystyrene packaging in Europe by 2025; to market a range of polyolefin products for packaging in Europe with at least 50% recycled material, to ensure that 100% of our polymers are recyclable.

    Here are some concrete examples:

    – When you see packaging, you don’t see that it consists of several layers. In fact, all those different layers have specific functions: rigidity, transparency, printability, sealability, barrier…. And to exploit each of these qualities, different materials are combined. Moreover, additional layers are needed to make all those layers compatible. However, these many layers also make packaging more difficult to recycle.
    That is why the colleagues at our R&D centre in Neder-Over-Heembeek focused on “mono-materials“. Thus, they developed an upright bag packaging in mono-material that consists of more than 95% polyethylene and is fully recyclable. Indeed, polyethylene has emerged as one of the best monomaterials because of its intrinsic qualities and because the recycling chain was already in place.
    It also produced a second rigid MDO monomaterial roll with more than 50% plastic waste – an absolute first in the market. This was helped by the investment in a high-tech, multi-layer MDO line to work with customers to develop solutions that they can apply directly to their own production lines.
    Read more about it in this report on our R&D centre in Neder-Over-Heembeek

    Upgrading plastics for successful combination with recycled material Each time a polymer (such as polyethylene and polypropylene) is mechanically recycled, the quality of the material decreases. This is why these recyclates are usually used in low performance and rather inexpensive end applications such as flower pots and garbage bags. The goal of INEOS is to increase the value of recycled polymers so that they are equivalent to ‘virgin’ plastics. In our research centre in Neder-Over-Heembeek we have succeeded in making products that meet the demanding performance characteristics required by our customers, whilst containing more than 50% of recycled plastic. These products are now fully commercialised under our Recyl-IN brand name.

    Advanced (chemical) recycling of polyethylene and polypropylene. Instead of making plastics based on naphtha (from crude oil), INEOS has started a partnership with the recycling company Plastic Energy to break down used polyethylene and polypropylene to their base molecules so that they can be reused as a new feedstock. After first successful tests in 2020, INEOS and Plastic Energy are now developing a project to build a new installation that can carry out this process on a large scale.

    Depolymerization of styrene. INEOS Styrolution has already made a breakthrough for chemical recycling by depolymerizing polystyrene waste: laboratory scale production of new polystyrene based on recycled styrene monomers. For example, old yoghurt jars can be reused half in new products. This happens at the site of Styrolution in Antwerp, the largest polystyrene installation in Europe. Soon a partnership will be entered into with waste processing company INDAVER whereby polystyrene waste will be recycled into pure styrene monomers. Already in 2022, a demo plant will be operational that will be able to recycle 15,000 tons. This project fits in Styrolution’s efforts to make plastic products based on waste or renewable raw materials.

  • Does Project ONE make raw materials for disposable products?

    Project ONE produces ethylene, a gaseous substance that is an essential building block of chemistry. On the basis of these substances, further down the production chain, products will be made that are inextricably linked to our contemporary life. Just think about it:

    • Personal care products such as contact lenses, eyewear, toothbrushes, and cosmetics.
    • Electronics such as mobile phones, computers, and coffee machines.
    • Essential utilities and applications for our homes such as pipes for transporting drinking water or gas,  window frames and doors.
    • Healthcare applications such as mouth masks, face shields, syringes, medications and blood/plasma bags.
    • Things we use in our leisure time, such as sports equipment and clothing, outdoor furniture, and a TV.
    • Products that contribute to a sustainable society such as insulation materials, lightweight parts for cars, solar panels, lubricants for wind turbines, and wind turbine blades.

    Most of the INEOS Group’s production is for such applications in construction, automotive, household appliances and the like. Part of INEOS Group’s end products, concerns packaging for the food industry. Packaging is sometimes reviled, but it is important to improve the safety and shelf life of products.

    For example, the packaging of a cucumber improves its shelf life by about 11 days. Because there is less food waste, the packaging saves 5 times as much CO2 as was needed to produce it. Alternatives to plastic packaging, such as paper, glass and aluminum, use more resources such as energy and water, and may also require the use of plastics to deliver the required performance. This can result in higher CO2 emissions (see TED-talk by UGent professor Kim Ragaert).

  • Can INEOS meet the condition to become climate neutral with the cracker?

    Yes indeed. INEOS itself pointed out in its environmental impact report as early as 2021 the possibility of further phasing out its CO2 emissions to net zero.

    How do we do that?

    • We considered 3 technologies in the plant design that have the potential to make the ethane cracker climate-neutral: hydrogen, carbon capture and a hybrid solution of electrification and more hydrogen.
    • Currently, the hydrogen track is furthest along. It is technically perfectly possible to run the furnaces of the cracker and the steam boilers entirely on hydrogen. We fully reuse the hydrogen released in the cracking process as fuel for the furnaces, which means we can already avoid 60% of natural gas. If enough climate friendly hydrogen is available, we can increase that percentage further.
    • Moreover, we will report to the government every 2 years on the evolution of the technical feasibility of the solutions and their possible implementation in practice.

  • How does Project ONE fit into the climate ambitions of the port of Antwerp and the government?

    INEOS endorses these ambitions. For example, we support the objectives of the Paris Climate Agreement and the European Green Deal.

    And this is not just words. With Project ONE, we are building one of the most energy-efficient and environmentally-friendly installations in Europe. We’re also investing in research into technology for the capture and storage of CO2 (among other research topics). Technology that we already provide space for today on the Project ONE site. Incidentally, we have been capturing CO2 at our INEOS Oxide site in Zwijndrecht for 10 years now, and the captured CO2 is used for industrial use via the BECO2 joint venture, and we collaborated on Greensand, a pioneering project for the storage of CO2 in the North Sea bed.

    All our sites have developed a roadmap to become climate neutral by 2050 at the latest. The focus is on reduction at the source by using renewable energy and ‘green heat’, reusing hydrogen and CO2, further investments in electrification and, where possible, switching to recycled or bio-based raw materials. This ambition also takes into account Europe’s target of reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 55% by 2030 compared to 1990 figures.

    The route to a climate-neutral future runs in stages. Project ONE is already making a fundamental difference by making maximum use of the very best of what today’s technology offers. Customers supplied with ethylene from Project ONE can reduce their CO2 emissions by 2 million tonnes per year because they are no longer dependent on ethylene from more polluting plants. And our ambition reaches even further. We have incorporated flexibility into our plants to allow us to reduce our footprint further and integrate other technologies as soon as they are mature. For example, it is technologically possible to feed the cracking ovens and steam generators of Project ONE entirely with hydrogen, provided that enough climate-friendly hydrogen is available. With the investments currently being made in hydrogen technology, including in Flanders, it looks like this will be possible in future. Our design also has room for a carbon capture installation, so this option can also be utilised.

  • What does Project ONE mean for the climate?

    By employing the latest technologies for Project ONE, INEOS is striving to keep the impact on the climate as low as possible.


    By using the latest technologies, Project ONE’s ethane cracker will emit, on average, less than half of the CO2 than the best performing comparable installations in Europe. The hydrogen which is generated as a by-product during the ethylene production process is used as carbon-free fuel: hydrogen does not release any CO2 when burned. As a result we can significantly reduce the use of natural gas. Our record low footprint raises the bar for older, polluting installations (for example, via the European Union Emissions Trading System). Project ONE emits 0.29 tonnes of CO2 per tonne of product or just 43% of the current EU ETS benchmark value of 0.68 tonnes of CO2 per tonne of product. When Project ONE comes online, it will tighten the EU ETS benchmark value by around 14%. Steam crackers in the EU ETS system that do not meet this lower benchmark value will have to buy additional emission rights to cover emissions or take more emission reduction measures.

    Buyers of the ethylene produced by Project ONE will save 2 million tonnes of CO2 per annum as they no longer need to rely on the ethylene from older and more polluting plants.

    Jonas Byns, Project ONE’s lead process engineer, explains how that works in this video

    Also, the products made from ethylene will ultimately save twice as much CO2 as was necessary for their production – because they make end-products (e.g. cars) lighter and with longer lifetimes.

    Carbon capturing

    We’re also providing space on the Project ONE site for the collection of CO2. The current technology for capturing CO2 from flue gases is still very energy-intensive, and there is currently no network for discharging the collected CO2. We expect important technological breakthroughs in the near future that will make CO2 capture much more efficient. A study is currently being carried out to realize such a CO2 discharge infrastructure in the port of Antwerp. INEOS is working on this with other players from the port of Antwerp via the Antwerp@C consortium.

    Energy consumption

    Project ONE guarantees very high energy-efficiency. The maximum recovery of heat and cold flows ensures lower energy consumption. For example, the cold energy of the cryogenic ethane supplied, and the heat of the furnaces of the ethane installations, will be reused elsewhere in the process and less external steam will have to be generated.


    In the design of the ethane cracker, very ‘selective’ technologies have been chosen that contribute to a maximum conversion of the raw materials into high-quality chemicals. This results in a particularly high carbon-efficiency of almost 90% – which is much higher than in installations that use crude oil instead of ethane or propane. This means that barely 10% of the carbon present in the raw materials is converted into CO2, the remainder is converted into a high-quality chemical building block.

  • Will Project ONE produce plastic that ends up in the environment?

    The basic chemicals produced are building block of numerous products from our daily life. Think of insulation materials, pipes, lightweight materials that reduce car fuel consumption and emissions, medical applications such as disinfectant hand gel, syringes, intravenous bags, MRI scanning devices and sterile packaging, wind turbines, packaging materials that lengthen the storage time of foods, and so on.

    Plastics are not intended to end up in the natural environment . It’s not the plastics themselves, but the pollution caused by discarded plastics that we, as a society, must tackle. INEOS’ vision is that we should evolve into a world where plastics are not viewed as disposable products, but valuable materials. That’s why INEOS invests heavily in the advanced recycling of plastics – and today, all of INEOS’ polymers are already recyclable.

    We have committed to incorporate at least 850 000 tonnes of recycled and bio-attributed material in our polymer products by 2030. We previously committed to use an average of 30% recycled material in products for polystyrene packaging in Europe by 2025; to market a range of polyolefin products for packaging in Europe with at least 50% recycled material, to ensure that 100% of our polymers are recyclable.

    More info in INEOS’ sustainability report and our INEOS Pledge

    At the Olefins & Polymers Europe Technology Centre in Neder-over-Heembeek, we made a breakthrough in mechanical recycling with our Recycle-IN products developed and tested in Belgium. There, we developed a booster plastic that makes it possible to integrate at least 50% recycled material into products without loss of quality.

    INEOS has also developed a new range of biopolymers based on residues from the pulp and paper industry that can produce plastics with 90% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions
    Examples include the first sustainable gas pipeline, made with bio-based polyethylene from INEOS O&P in Lillo and the agreement concluded by INEOS with Plastic Energy for the purchase of raw materials.

    INEOS supports various initiatives to remove plastics that have ended up in the environment. Just think of Operation Clean Sweep in the port of Antwerp, the Ocean Clean-up, and other sustainability initiatives of the port of Antwerp.